My attendance on the fundraising circuit in Toronto resumed in mid-January 2011 where I volunteered as a silent auction assistant at The Walrus Foundation Gala held at the Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery District. The collective Canadian voice of writers and artists, The Walrus Magazine is worthy of our attention and worth saving. Care to watch this video to know why: WeNeedTheWalrus. I intuited this would be a stellar event — one that would allow me to be in close contact with unique and treasured items and Canadian talent!
The programming for the evening — from cocktails and dinner service to live entertainment, speeches and final silent bids — all followed promptly on cue. I had feelings of pride to have attended what is and will remain a memorable Toronto night-out. My responsibilities from my side of the auction table were to inform guests (and future buyers) of the four items (of many) I was supervising. These included Edward Burtynsky’s ship lamps from his shipbreaking shoot in Bangladesh; original double panel paintings by Joanne Tod called Divided Touch, for which an image of the artwork had graced the magazine’s November 2010 cover; a weekend theatre package including accommodation at the upcoming Stratford Shakespeare Festival; and finally, Mordecai Richler’s writing jacket, a size 46 with shortened sleeves, and a 12-year bottle of Macallan!
From my point-of-view, all the great photo opportunities could have been shot from here because without fail, as guests approached the table with curiosity, a sense of discovery quickly brought on wide smiles and occasional smirks. The stories were here. It was an enchanting evening.
Other notable moments included my one-to-one chats: with Sonja Smits I remarked on her beautiful aubergine dress and the rarity of wearing a color other than black in evening attire, with Noah Richler we talked about his father and our mutual financier friend in Montreal, and with Piers Handling the conversation circled around TIFF and my past publicity mandate for Unifrance. Also spotted at the Gala were Bruce Kuwabara, Jian Gomeshi, Valerie Pringle, Barry Avrich, Pamela Wallin, Roz Ivey, and Edward Burtynsky.
The 2011 edition of The Walrus Foundation Gala netted 30 per cent higher earnings from the previous year. Corporate-sponsored tables were 100 per cent sold as were auctioned items. Glittering news for The Walrus!